Tuesday, December 22, 2020

A Productive Pandemic

Sorry I’ve been MIA, but I’ve been working on about a thousand final papers and projects. Speaking of which, I was feeling uninspired so I decided I’d talk about productivity during a global pandemic. More specifically, why the productivity that should be expected is completely different now than it was before.

Way back in March, when all this craziness started out, people were posting things online about how we should all be creating our own personal side hustles and get six packs and cleaning our lives up. And if your brain and body had the capacity to do that, then that’s awesome and I am proud of you. However, that’s just unreasonable. Most of those things are not what people would do in normal life, because they were busy with other stuff or just not motivated to do them. But a pandemic is not just a fun little vacation where we all got an extra spring break. Some people were dealing with deficits in their jobs or access to their families or -- here’s a kicker -- actually getting COVID! 

For me, only my schooling really changed from an outside perspective, but we all went through a collective trauma this year, and dealing with this isn’t relaxing. Sure, taking a day off from school is nice, but having your entire educational layout change and still being expected to learn as easily seems like a lot to ask. So no, I don’t think we all need to hop on our productivity wagons and fly to the moon. If you managed to survive and make it through this pandemic so far, then I think you’re doing just fine.

One thing I noticed with my classes this fall was that there were a lot more assignments than the classes I took had traditionally had in past years. What was confusing about this was that we all still had to attend the classes for the normal length of time that we would’ve if the classes were in-person, we just didn’t have to walk to different buildings in between. I understand that professors have to do something to keep track of our work, but this feels extraneous. For example, my friend who is a freshman at my university took the same big Psych class that I took last year when I was a freshman. When I took the class, we had 3 prelims (which are basically midterms) and then a final, and they dropped your lowest prelim grade. However, when my friend took it this fall, she had weekly assignments to turn in so that the TAs could keep track of her work (or something like that). The problem is, I know for a fact that there were some people last fall who did not attend a single in-person lecture for that class, and then came in for the prelims having studied the textbook, and passed the class with flying colors. So what I don’t understand is why now, in this even more stressful and draining time, they are adding more assignments to a class that would have been even less monitored in normal, non-crazy life. It seems a little counterintuitive.

In the end, I am proud of each and every person who made it through this semester or this year, and I cannot wait to get stuck with a vaccine and then pretend this was all some crazy fever dream.


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